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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said publicly for the first time Sunday morning that she is a victim of sexual assault.
Conway told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she sympathizes with victims of sexual assault because she is one herself during a conversation about the controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape,” she said before clearing her throat. “I’m a victim of sexual assault.”
Conway was arguing that the way politicians and reporters have handled the allegations against Kavanaugh is hypocritical — saying it’s unfair to compare him to former President Bill Clinton or disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. She urged the women who confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator about Kavanaugh to instead “go blame the perpetrator.”
“And if not one Senate Judiciary Committee member changes his or her vote because of what they learned from the FBI investigation, that tells you all you need to know about what the president and Judge Kavanaugh has said is a sham,” she said.
Tapper pointed out that this is the first time Conway said that she had been sexually assaulted and that she works for a president who says all the women who have accused him are lying.
“Don’t conflate that with this and certainly don’t conflate that with what happened to me,” Conway said. “It would be a huge mistake, Jake. Let’s not do it. Let’s not always bring Trump into everything that happens in this universe. That’s mistake number one.”
Tapper said he was only bringing up Trump because the president has said that his personal experiences with false allegations have formed his view of this.
He continued, “As a survivor of this, and again I’m deeply, personally very sorry for whatever pain you’ve gone through, but does that not make you think when you hear somebody like Professor Ford or other people make allegations, does that not make you think, ‘These women need to be heard.’ And even if there are not corroborating witnesses, that is not ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.’”
Conway responded that all victims of sexual assault should be heard.
“Jake, they should all be heard. They should be heard in courts of law. They should be heard in depositions. They should be heard in proceedings. Those who can prosecute. Those who have civil and/or criminal causes of action should pursue that,” Conway said.
“But we do treat people differently who are either the victims or the perpetrators of this based on their politics now or based on their gender. That is a huger mistake. America, it’s a huge mistake. Don’t make the mistake.”
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